There’s something nice about the idea of a crown in your mouth, isn’t there? They used to call them caps. As in capped teeth. But crown is so much more royal, don’t you think?
Why would you need something called a dental crown in your mouth? And what does it do?
A dental crown is, in fact, a sort of cap that is shaped to your tooth. It fits over your tooth in order to improve its appearance with the correct size and shape. It is typically used to restore a broken or damaged tooth, starting at the gum line and covering it completely. A good crown can last as long as 5-15 years.
Crowns can also be used to protect a weak tooth or to hold together a tooth that has been cracked. It can also be installed as part of a dental bridge, to help anchor it into place. You might also need a crown if a significant portion of a tooth has been filled, and there isn’t much of the original tooth left, or to cover a dental implant or a weirdly shaped or discoloured tooth.
In short, crowns can help you create a perfect smile.
Types of Crowns
Dental crown cost, strength and appearance vary depending on their type. Your dentist can help you decide on the best type of crown for you. Here is an overview of the different types of crowns:All-porcelain or all-ceramic – These are the most natural looking types of crowns, suitable for front teeth. They are not quite as strong as the ones made of porcelain that are fused to metal underneath, but are a good choice for people who have sensitivities to metal.All-porcelain or all-ceramic – These are the most natural looking types of crowns, suitable for front teeth. They are not quite as strong as the ones made of porcelain that are fused to metal underneath, but are a good choice for people who have sensitivities to metal.
- All-porcelain or all-ceramic – These are the most natural looking types of crowns, suitable for front teeth. They are not quite as strong as the ones made of porcelain that are fused to metal underneath, but are a good choice for people who have sensitivities to metal.
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal – These are stronger than the all-porcelain or all-ceramic type of crowns, and are a close second to them in terms of looking natural. Sometimes the outer layer of ceramic can chip off or the layer of metal may show through near the gum line. These crowns are typically used on front or back.
- Metals – These can be made of gold, palladium, nickel or chrome alloys. These are the strongest types of crowns – rarely chip and typically last the longest. However, their colour makes them less desirable for front teeth. They are an excellent choice for molars, where they are less visible in the back of the mouth.
- All-resin crowns – A less costly option, but they are also less durable and typically do not last as long as porcelain or ceramic crowns.
- Temporary crowns – These are typically made of stainless steel or acrylic and are used as a temporary measure while the permanent crown is being crafted by the dental lab. Sometimes stainless steel crowns are also used on baby teeth for children who are experiencing very severe tooth decay and are not able to manage proper dental care. In that case, the crown simply comes off along with the baby tooth when it falls out naturally.
Depending on the condition of the tooth, if there is extensive tooth decay, the pulp or even the root of the tooth may need to be removed before a crown can be installed. Removal of the root, also known as a root canal, may have to be performed by an oral surgeon. Furthermore, if you are immune compromised in any way, you may require antibiotics before and after the procedures. As always, it’s important to review your medical history with your dentist prior to any surgical procedure.
The actual creation of a dental crown is a multi-step process that requires at least two visits to the dentist. During the first visit, the tooth is prepared to be fitted with a crown. It is fully numbed and anaesthetized, then filed down or built up, if necessary, to a shape that will properly anchor the crown, using the correct amount of space between surrounding teeth. Once the tooth is ready to receive the crown, the dentist takes an impression of the tooth in putty that is then sent to the dental lab, where the new crown will be created. Your dentist will have also chosen the correct colour of a porcelain or ceramic crown to match the rest of your teeth.
Typically, it takes 2-3 weeks for a crown to be made at the lab. During this time, your dentist will create for you a temporary cap to wear until the permanent one is ready to be cemented into place. Care must be taken while wearing a temporary cap not to eat anything too sticky or crunchy, so as not to dislodge or break it. Flossing must also be done carefully, pulling the floss through as opposed to pulling away from the gum, so you don’t accidentally pull out the temporary cap.
Possible Problems with a Crown
Sometimes the crown can feel a little sensitive after the anaesthesia has worn off, particularly in response to hot or cold. Your dentist may recommend using a special toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. If it hurts when you bite, the crown may be sitting too high on your tooth and need to be adjusted. Your dentist can help you with that.
If your crown chips, your dentist can usually fix that with a bit of composite resin. If the crown is too badly damaged, it may need to be replaced. If your crown becomes loose or falls off, you must have that repaired by your dentist right away. The exposed tooth underneath is very susceptible to infection by bacteria, so you need to keep the area clean and make an appointment to have it fixed immediately.
If you think you may need a dental crown, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us right away!